Archive for the ‘travel’ Category


There were major disruptions on train journey back up today, but it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.¬† I made a point of taking it as time to enjoy my ipod, and I did. A good example of how things like this help to make the world go round happier ūüėČ

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Took the train down to Dublin this avo.¬† Its actually very relaxing even if it takes forever: reading, listening to my ipod… grrrrrreat.

Dinner with “collegues”¬† – who are so much more than just that –¬†outside a restaurant in a surprisingly quiet waterside area of Dublin as the sun set.¬† Food was great too.


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The French IFES’ movement (and my excuse to come to France) started this afternoon and I was launched into French conversation and singing French praise which was cool.

However, the best conversation of the day started in French and ended up in English…¬†

I did a Bible College placement in Tours in 2005 and met Raphael and his wife at the church I was working with.¬† Back then, he was doing a little volunteer work with the GBU (French IFES/CUs) and I got to hang out a little with him at a CU meeting he was at.¬† So, because of his links, he was at the conference.¬† The moment of recognition and welcome was really cool – he’s so fun and generally one of the nicest people I’ve encountered.¬† But, anyway… we had a great conversation about life, discipleship, evangelism, France, God, faith… And he invited me to come lead worship at a conference in France in November!¬† It was just SUCH an encouraging and inspiring conversation.¬† Awesome.

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A church that serves Toffipops has gotta be a great place…

I enjoyed the time and space a drive home from Dublin (and a pit stop in Belfast) afforded to think, soul-search¬†and listen to a talk on Galatians: ‘Preach the gospel and stop nagging people to try harder…’

Actually, this past few days has also brought a sense of reconciliation with a friend from a few years back¬†where there had been a weird feeling of ‘we’ve-had-a-fight-but-actually-we-never-did’ before.¬† Glad that, at least in this one situation, I feel a little more grown up.

 And now? 


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A satisfyingly productive morning when a talk came together despite me thinking I had NOTHING to say!

SLOBS looked to be a difficult one, but again I was overwhelmed by the real sense that the Small Group Leaders are growing so much.  I loved their engagement with Scripture, with each other and with me Рwhat a blessing.  I am reminded that its often in the struggle that we grow stronger.

A wee jaunt over to Derry to do an address at a ‘Lent’ service in a church – a chance to see some of the students there again and chat a little.¬† One man’s comment about being glad to hear that ‘students aren’t all¬†bad’ made the CU movement all the more fresh and exciting to me too.

I called a friend I haven’t spoken to in almost a year.¬† It was easy – I just picked up the phone and did it!¬† As the phone rang I was thinking that I feel like a different person since we last spoke.¬† That made me nervous, but I discovered she’s been on a similar journey and that our friendship is still strong, still fresh and still organic!¬† Praise God for friends like that.¬† Praise God for growth in difficult times.

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Breakfast in bed!

I then drove in the sunshine listening to great music.¬† I love that.¬† I also had a real sense of appreciation for the freedom I have to travel… very easily taken for granted or moaned about.

I’ve decided that I must make more time for reading, so I spent a couple of hours this afternoon with a book in my hand.¬† Think I fell asleep about 20 mins into that though…!¬† But, yeah – I enjoy reading.

Dinner (though, in itself nothing special) with two old school friends was great.¬† Not awkward and in reminiscing, I learnt that my bluntness isn’t a recently developed characteristic after all…!¬† I had thought that my friendship with one of these girls was long gone, but thanks to the other, its been rekindled!¬† I’m grateful for grown-up friendships that span time.

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I enjoyed chatting with a student today who understands my job and loves that I’m there to do it.¬† Always encouraging.

Ryanair sales and the prospect of travel…

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I rocked up at the airport this morning, extra early to avoid a mad rush through security… but the queue to check in was practically non-existant and I was checked in, through security and at Starbuck’s counter in about ten minutes.¬† Nice.¬† There was a moment of disappointment when they didn’t have my favourite cinnamon roll, but I got over it!¬† The travelling was pretty painless and the IFES bunch played cards on the train.¬† Thanks to espero for teaching us ‘Yanif’ back in the day…!

So 21-26th Jan is the second of three training conferences for Relay Workers (volunteers on a year of discipleship training alongside student ministry).¬† I’m one of about 15 Staff from all over British Isles – the only one from IFES Ireland meaning the rest of them see each other relatively frequently.¬† Arriving at the conference venue was great, though, because I didn’t feel like I was all that different from the rest of the Staff Team – I felt welcomed and appreciated and it was good to see them!¬† God answered some pretty fervent prayers and I felt like I could relax and concentrate this week much better than the one in September.

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A lengthy lie-in, cosy and warm and no pressure to get up.

I was taking the service in my home church tonight.¬† Talking about my work with students.¬† Took a different slant and got people within the congregation to talk about their experiences of the CU movement.¬† It was magic!¬† Not only did they say exactly what I wanted them to, but they meant it too!!!¬† Reinforces the fact that actually, what I’m involved in is being used by God to bring¬†far-reaching consequences through all generations!

I felt so blessed by the presence and support of friends and family; eager to encourage and thank me afterwards and assure me of their prayers.  Knowing that they do pray.

Supper at the Manse and an intimate performance by the husband of a couple who’ve recently taken over supporting the students of the congregation.¬† He sang one of his own songs – kindy folky and reminded me of Martyn Joseph (who I’m only beginning to discover).¬† It was just a memorable moment – perhaps made more poignant by the realisation that this couple, who were formerly on the fringes, are beginning to embrace and be embraced into the community.¬† Beautiful.

Not only did his singing bless me, but the reminder of Martyn Joseph prompted me to listen to some tracks on my way back home.¬† I love the space and privacy that driving can afford.¬† Tonight, through a song by MJ, I remembered that I am precious in God’s eyes.

Joy and hope restored.

Understanding why God wanted me in Ireland this weekend.¬† Ryanair will have other sales…

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